Rugby's southern hemisphere sides strike first blows

Summer is usually a time to kick back and relax, but for the northern hemisphere's top rugby stars it signals punishi...

Posted: Jun 11, 2018 12:41 PM
Updated: Jun 11, 2018 12:41 PM

Summer is usually a time to kick back and relax, but for the northern hemisphere's top rugby stars it signals punishing tours to some of the game's most ferocious hotbeds.

England were humbled in South Africa, France were bloodied in New Zealand and Ireland went down in Australia last weekend.

New Zealand 52-11 France

Australia 18-9 Ireland

South Africa 42-39 England

Three uncompromising places for visitors to play, three touring teams bruised and with much to contemplate ahead of the second round of Test matches Saturday.

Only Wales and Scotland of the Six Nations sides won, in Argentina and Canada respectively, as Italy also lost in Japan.

World champion New Zealand waited until the second half before unleashing an exhilarating burst of 41 points in 28 minutes to swat away France 52-11 at Auckland's Eden Park, a stadium it hasn't lost at since 1994.

The All Blacks began slowly in their first game of the season and trailed 8-11 at the break following an interception try by French winger Remy Grosso, who was later taken to hospital with facial injuries following a tackle.

But after France lost lock Paul Guabrillagues to the sin-bin for 10 minutes for a high tackle early in the second period the Kiwis hit the gas, running in six tries.

"The big thing is not getting seduced by the scoreboard," said coach Steve Hansen.

"We were trying to go through them rather than around them and once we started to do that and make them work a bit harder then we knew it would pay dividends later on."

READ: Barrett brothers make history for New Zealand

In Brisbane, Australia ended Six Nations champion Ireland's 12-game winning streak with a 18-9 victory at the Suncorp Stadium.

Tries from Bernard Foley and David Pocock, allied to aggressive defence, helped the Wallabies to keep the visitors at arm's length in the three-Test series. Ireland has not beaten Australia down under for 39 years, but it will have another chance in the second Test in Melbourne Saturday.

South Africa gave under-pressure England coach Eddie Jones even more of a headache with a remarkable win after trailing 24-3 early on in Johannesburg.

The Springboks, with Siya Kolisi becoming their first black Test captain in their 127-year history, surged to a 42-39 victory to hand England its fourth consecutive Test defeat.

England raced clear with a devastating opening stanza of tries from Mike Brown, Elliot Daly and Owen Farrell, but South Africa's livewire scrumhalf Faf de Klerk orchestrated a Springbok stampede.

The home side ran in four tries to lead 29-27 at the break and added another in the second half to hold off an England fightback.

READ: South Africa takes sevens glory in dramatic finale

Some critics questioned England's use of Durban as a base ahead of the match at Ellis Park, which is more than a mile above sea level where the air is thinner, making exercise harder without proper conditioning.

Jones dismissed this as a factor, and blamed "individual errors and indiscipline" as England added another defeat to three from their five Six Nations matches this winter.

"If you saw today's performance I think you should be excited," the combative Australian told the BBC.

"I'm disappointed we lost the game, but there's a lot to say out there that the team is going in the right direction."

'Beautiful game'

However, England's 2003 World Cup-winning coach Clive Woodward told BBC Radio 5 Live: "Something is not right because they are normally very good defensively.

"The bubble has burst and teams have recognized that the way to beat England is by playing an all-out fast game."

South Africa's Kolisi called it a "beautiful game."

"We worked really hard to make sure we were ready for this game, and thanks to everyone for coming out to support us," he told Sky Sports.

"I didn't need to say anything [when England scored their third try]. We knew what we were doing wrong, we just had to pick the tempo up and we did that and it worked in our favour."

Wales beat Argentina 23-10 in San Juan to give coach Warren Gatland a different type of headache to Jones as he mulls an abundance of fit and in-form players to choose from for Saturday's second and final Test in Santa Fe.

Wales has not won a Test series in Argentina since 1999.

Visit CNN.com/rugby for more news, features and videos

Scotland beat Canada 48-10, while Japan -- coached by Jones to a famous World Cup win in a group match against South Africa in 2015 -- overcame Italy 34-17.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 34622

Reported Deaths: 1215
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds282449
DeSoto186519
Madison141936
Jones118549
Harrison109615
Rankin106315
Neshoba103976
Forrest97243
Lauderdale95481
Scott80915
Jackson74418
Washington70010
Copiah64215
Leake62120
Lee60022
Oktibbeha58928
Holmes57941
Warren57720
Grenada5698
Wayne56018
Yazoo5486
Lowndes53613
Leflore52856
Lamar5227
Lincoln51935
Pike48820
Sunflower4708
Lafayette4644
Monroe43935
Panola4326
Covington4295
Bolivar39418
Simpson3843
Attala38324
Newton36710
Adams34719
Pontotoc3396
Tate33313
Marion32412
Claiborne30011
Winston29611
Chickasaw29319
Pearl River28132
Noxubee2778
Marshall2763
Jasper2716
Clay25611
Walthall2497
Union24611
Smith23712
Coahoma2196
Clarke21725
Lawrence2022
Yalobusha2028
Kemper18314
Tallahatchie1784
Carroll17411
Humphreys16110
Calhoun1605
Montgomery1513
Itawamba1458
Tippah14411
Hancock14113
Webster13411
Jefferson1223
Tunica1213
Jefferson Davis1184
Prentiss1173
George1123
Greene11210
Amite1083
Quitman971
Tishomingo971
Wilkinson969
Alcorn942
Perry794
Choctaw754
Stone732
Franklin542
Sharkey470
Benton440
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 49892

Reported Deaths: 1077
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson6219167
Mobile4625138
Montgomery4397111
Tuscaloosa258652
Madison19839
Marshall190411
Shelby155724
Lee153537
Morgan12415
Baldwin117011
Walker105631
Elmore100721
Dallas9789
Franklin92816
Etowah91914
DeKalb8647
Russell6650
Chambers66427
Autauga66214
Butler64529
Tallapoosa62569
Unassigned61627
Limestone5963
Houston5616
Lauderdale5556
Cullman5546
St. Clair4842
Colbert4816
Lowndes48022
Escambia4688
Pike4675
Calhoun4565
Coffee4164
Covington40312
Jackson4022
Barbour3772
Bullock37610
Dale3721
Talladega3677
Hale34323
Marengo34211
Clarke3036
Wilcox2998
Chilton2952
Winston2925
Sumter28713
Blount2811
Marion26714
Pickens2626
Monroe2553
Randolph2489
Conecuh2278
Perry2242
Bibb2151
Macon2129
Choctaw20912
Greene1929
Henry1463
Washington1367
Crenshaw1263
Lawrence1210
Cherokee1157
Geneva950
Lamar871
Clay822
Fayette811
Coosa631
Cleburne421
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 76°
Feels Like: 82°
Columbus
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 75°
Oxford
Broken Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 74°
Feels Like: 82°
Starkville
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 72°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather